November 8, 2015
2806 Clearwater St
Los Angeles, CA
Sarah Abrevaya Stein
From Stein: Why does a family save its papers? How does the instinct for preservation defy wars, fire, and genocide; migration and conversion; family feuds; even a stubborn disconnection from the past? What do we preserve and what does it mean to those who find it? And what is lost to those of us—the great majority in this day and age—who no longer write letters and no longer have family papers to save? Stein meditates on these questions whilst undertaking a voyage through the intertwined histories of Sephardi Jewry and the twentieth century—a century of stunning tumult for this community. While telling the history of a single family, this presentation is also the history of a collection: a reflection on how one family archive came to be built and preserved, and how it knit together a family even as the historic Sephardi heartland of southeastern Europe was unraveling.
Kan Ya Ma Kan is a yearly series that takes place over three weekends in November featuring the culinary traditions, music and culture of the Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish diaspora. Each weekend will offer a Saturday night and Sunday afternoon program featuring chefs, writers and scholars. Saturday’s dinner opens with a Havdalah service and then ends with live music. Sunday afternoon will feature tea, sweets and conversation with an invited writer, scholar or artist.
A 2015-2016 Guggenheim Fellow,Sarah Abrevaya Stein is Professor of History and Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies at UCLA. Her scholarship includes Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria (University of Chicago Press, 2014), Sephardi Lives: a documentary history, 1700-1950 (Stanford University Press, 2014), and Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce (Yale University Press, 2008). Stein’s forthcoming book is Extraterritorial Dreams: European Citizenship, Sephardi Jews, and the Ottoman Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2016). With the support of the Guggenheim Foundation, she is now working on Family Papers: a Sephardi Journey Through the Twentieth Century.